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Kylesku Bridge

The Kylesku Bridge is a dramatic structure which curves majestically across Caolas Cumhann, the channel which joins Loch Cairnbawn (Loch a' Chairn Bhain) with Lochs Glendhu and Glencoul, a quarter-mile (0.4 km) northwest of Kylesku in the Sutherland district of the Highland Council Area. Work began in July 1978 and the bridge was opened by HRH Queen Elizabeth II on the 8th August 1984, replacing a succession of ferries which had crossed between Kylesku and Kylestrome since the early 19th century. When this ferry was not running, the only alternative was a 100 mile (160 km) detour around the NW Highlands.

The bridge was designed for what was then Highland Regional Council by Ove Arup and Partners. It was, in part, financed by the European Community, and built by Morrison Construction Ltd. The cost was £4 million, rather more than the budgeted £2¾ million, in part due to difficult weather conditions during construction.

The 275-m (902-foot) continuous pre-stressed concrete bridge actually crosses from a small island - Garbh Eilean - which is unnoticeably connected to the northern shore by a short causeway. The bridge comprises three spans but gives the impression of five, because its 132-m (433-foot) main span is carried on pairs of V-shaped sloping supports. The box-girder deck is elevated 24m (78 feet) above the strong currents of the water below.

The Kylesku Bridge has received a number of honours: the Saltire Award (1984), the Concrete Society Award (1985), a Civic Trust Award (1986) and the Annual Award of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland (1988).

One of the original small ferries the Maid of Kylesku, which served the crossing from the 1950s until 1967, lies abandoned opposite the fishing harbour at Kylesku.


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